My One-Word Theme for 2011: Now

During my 2010 Year End meme, I mentioned I don’t do resolutions, but I am doing something different regarding goal-setting this year. I’ve been setting goals for a while now, and although I’ve been fairly successful at reaching them, I feel like I need to kick things up a notch in 2011 to really make some progress on several items that have been hanging around on the to-do list.

And wouldn’t you know it, the Universe, as it is wont to do, sent me in the direction of a concept that is all over the place but that I have somehow missed up to this point in my life.

Reverb 10 calls it the “One-Word” prompt, asking readers to think of one word that described 2010 and then to imagine what they’d like that one word to be for the upcoming year. Chris Guillebeau calls it his “theme” for the year, while Christine Kane labels it the “Word of the Year,” and even offers a free worksheet to help you figure out yours.

I love this idea, and the first word that popped in my mind was “NOW.”

now by Genista on Flickr

now by Genista on Flickr

And then I immediately tried to analyze it away, telling myself it was too ordinary, too vague, too plain — and that it came too damn easy. But I just kept coming back to it because it speaks to me on so many levels.

*NOW* : stop procrastination when there are tasks that need to be done.

*NOW* : move forward on personal projects that have been sitting on the backburner for far too long.

*NOW* : live in the moment, practice mindfulness – one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past couple years and am still learning.

Then, just as all this was turning around in my head, my friend Pam posted this on Facebook on January 1:

“Inner peace comes with staying in the NOW!”

Yes. Yes. Yes.

And in the words of Van Halen:

(Right now) Hey! It’s your tomorrow
(Right now) Come on, it’s everything
(Right now) Catch your magic moment
Do it right here and now
It means everything.

So now I feel a little like Ally McBeal with a theme song in my head. You might not believe me, but I promise you that just having this word in my head has already pushed me to do several things that I may have otherwise convinced myself could wait another day. We’re but 10 days into January, and the word has been with me constantly as I stare down something else I’d rather put off…and you know what? Things are getting done.

Sure, you say, but how long will that last? Well, I’m hoping for another 11 months and a couple weeks, but who knows? And who really cares? I’ll still have all those accomplishments, and as many of you have probably already figured out, getting things done actually breeds getting more things done. There’s something so inherently inspiring about progress.

By the way, my “now” doesn’t refer only to work and chores either. It also plays nicely with downtime as I tell myself NOW is the time to turn off the computer, load that movie, make some popcorn, and just relax.

Do you have a word for 2011?

26 Beans of Wisdom to “My One-Word Theme for 2011: Now”
  1. Gil


    Woohoo! Hope you find/have found something you really enjoy doing…that makes all the difference IMHO πŸ™‚

  2. Hmmm, I do have a theme song for 2011 but not a word at this point.

    I like your word!

    Thanks! Theme songs are fun too πŸ˜€

  3. 01.10.2011

    can I do now with you?

    I would be honored πŸ™‚

  4. Perservere. Long story not fit for Internet consumption, but I think that will be my word for the first half of 2011, hopefully I can replace it with something happier later.

    Sounds great, Joanne, and I love the idea of already thinking it will need replacement!

  5. 01.10.2011

    For some reason Michelle, I really had an emotional response to your wonderful post. That would be crying…ha! I guess it just brought a feeling of joy…for some weird reason…oh well! Loved the post as always girl and thank you so much for the shout-out!

    Now is the BEST word ever! NOW hand me over some of that popcorn! Hugs!

    Haha I did make popcorn again tonight Pam…come on over! So glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚

  6. Great word.

    I have 3 words for the year – 1st time I’ve tried it too and the idea came from Chris Brogan. I have them on post-its everywhere (no theme song for me) and they are working. They are: Focus, creativity, happiness.

    Love the words, and love the post-it idea…I’m putting mine (in English and Italian) all over my Vision Board πŸ˜€

  7. 01.10.2011

    First of all, oh soul sister of mine, I just love you tons and tons to pieces.
    Second – AMEN. This is such a great post for the beginning of the year and the direction to take… Now. It’s perfect.

    And, of course, I love Van Halen; great pick. ;D

    I have no doubt that this change for you will be such a wonderful one, and I can’t wait to go along with you on the journey. Every step counts.


    Thank you so much, cara…mwah mwah mwaaaaah πŸ™‚ xx

  8. mezzo pazzo

    my therapist (the cognitive type) has been trying to hammer this into my capatosta for a number of months now – mindfulness and the moment – we need it as a culture here in the u.s. for sure – i’m going to steal your word but change it to “presto!” to remind myself…..

    Whatever works for you, MP, although presto technically means “soon” in Italian…so you might want to speed things up with an “adesso” or “ora” (both mean “now”) πŸ˜‰ Mindfulness is a constant challenge for me…but the changes I noticed in my life were immediate once I started really focusing on it. Really.

  9. 01.10.2011

    My words in Italiano of course:
    Last year’s word: “iniziativa” (the power to act, start something new and take charge: beginnings in 2010 included: blogging, hosting an Italian student, branching out into cyberspace to further Italian studies and find new friends, come te!)

    This years word: “andiamo” (let’s go! let’s go back to Italy, let’s go meet the family in Puglia, let’s go design theater sets, let’s go write some more blogs, let’s go back to work, let’s go have a party and let’s go have some more fun!!!!)

    Felice anno nuovo! Un abbraccio forte!

    Andiamo is a wonderful word…and so fun to say to boot! Buon 2011 anche a te πŸ˜€

  10. 01.11.2011

    (texting)….Just loading up the Lear jet….be there in a flash…lol! (WISH) …ha!

    Haha well in the meantime, you just enjoy all the gorgeous snow for me πŸ™‚

  11. 01.11.2011

    I love it! Now is so simple and profound at the same time. It’s perfect! All we really have is now. And strangely, doing what we need and want to do now, makes way for a better future, that we’ll look back on feeling like we did all we could in the past. Now has it all!

    I started doing my word for the year a couple of years ago, but instead of coinciding with the New Year, it starts on my blog’s anniversary. My word for this blog year is PROSPER: flourish, succeed, thrive, and grow in a vigorous way.

    Here’s the post if you’d like to see it.

    Thanks for that link, Lisa; your word is wonderful!

  12. Michelle,

    Love your blog, and this post!! Many of my friends (homeschool moms) have been picking a word for the year for a couple years now. Neat to see it is also in the larger culture. I haven’t decided on my word yet….but am heavily leaning toward FAMILY. I want to continue my focus of last year on making time for family, making the effort for them that I make for good friends. Helping them to feel a priority in my life. And many times that means embracing spontaneous opportunities to spend time with them…as in…when they drop in unexpectedly πŸ˜‰

    I’ve listened to many of your podcasts, and really enjoy them. Keep up the GREAT work!!

    Thanks so much Denise; what a lovely comment πŸ™‚ And I love your word for 2011!

  13. 01.11.2011

    I’m with you on “now” very inspiring.

    Thanks FH! And happy 2011!

  14. 01.11.2011

    Become! I have in my head what life would be like if everything went according to plan and each day I am going to do one thing to “become” that dream.

    Yes! I love it Lisa! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  15. 01.12.2011

    Inner peace really does come from staying in the now. If you’re focused on possibilities–well, there are too many things that could just go wrong in the future, you know? But if you stay in the now, you remain centered and you’re able to move forward from a stable place. (That is, unless you just got hit by a car, or your mom died, or something else horrible just happened. In that case, I’m all for living in the past–or at least mentally fast forwarding to a place where time heals all wounds!)

    From my understanding, the concept of mindfulness does apply to those tough times as well — you acknowledge the feeling and then it becomes “easier” to move on from it. There’s a difference between being mindful and drowning or wallowing in a feeling though…not an easy balance to achieve, to be sure, but something to strive for. Thanks for coming by!

  16. 01.12.2011

    Mine is “start”. I always have ten things on the back burner, too. Stacks of TBR books; crafts I want to make (I have all the materials), that book I’m still writing…

    So, “start” is what my goal is. Not just for this year. After all, slow is faster than never, right? =-)

    I love that, Kathleen: “slow is faster than never.” Woohoo!

  17. Caterina B

    Thanks for the idea, Michelle. My mother passed away suddenly on New Year’s Eve and it has shown me one very important thing…no more procrastination! I must begin planning the travel I have always wanted to do. She did manage to make it to Norway once, in her seventies, thank God. I hope to have way more time to live and I can go more places but I have to start somewhere and soon! ‘Ándale!

    I’m so sorry about your mother, Caterina; I wish you all the best in 2011, including, of course, all the travel you want πŸ™‚

  18. 01.13.2011

    You made my day! Che bella idea! I have been following your site for a while now because I too, am an American living in Italy. Brava on your site and your word for the year — I may just have to use that too!

    Lovely to hear from you Rebecca; look forward to getting to know you better πŸ™‚

  19. 01.14.2011

    I love the goat stories. They are by far my favourite animal, if I didn’t live in Rome I would have several!

    Happy to oblige, Marie! Make sure you check out Goat Berries for all the latest in goat news!

  20. 01.15.2011

    My chosen word for 2011 is “Do” – I have lots of projects planned for the coming year & I believe that tiny little word generates so much energy & positivity.
    Thanks for planting the seed …. I love this idea & I love your blog!

    Thanks so much Michela! Best of luck with all that “doing” this year!

  21. 01.16.2011

    my word—> Focus

    i have a multitude of projects going on over here…
    each room of my house
    has Art of some sort Happening…

    {{ ps–i Love keeping up with you and your goats, michelle,
    i do! they melt my heart… }}

    Yes, focus could be my second word — a very close second!

  22. MikeS29

    My word: patience.

    Love your blog, just found it today, some I am going back and catching up.

    Thanks so much for coming by, Mike! Hope you enjoy catching up πŸ™‚

  23. Claudia

    The post made me smile and laugh and tear up a bit. I want to move towards”now” but at present will remember “grace” and earnestly practice gratitude every day.

    Lovely words for 2011, Claudia; thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  24. 01.24.2011

    Now sounds too simple indeed, but in hindsight it means a lot than what meets the eye.

    nice post. I hope it’s OK if I use it as a meme.

    Please feel free, Chell; thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  25. William Kiaune

    Glad I’m back in the mix. As you age “NOW” means everything.

    I’m glad too William πŸ™‚

  1. [...] or March while I was in America. I had been quite moved when I read Michelle Fabio’s post My One-W...



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